WASHINGTON (AP) — Miss Piggy is finally joining her love, Kermit the Frog, in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of Jim Henson’s Muppets, and Bert and Ernie will have a place in history, too.
Henson’s family, including his daughter, Cheryl Henson, donated more than 20 puppets and props Tuesday to the National Museum of American History to accompany the earlier donations of Kermit, Oscar the Grouch and early Henson creations.
The newest donation includes an original version of Miss Piggy and some of her co-stars from “The Muppet Show,” including Fozzie Bear, Rowlf the piano-playing dog, Scooter and the Swedish Chef. Puppets from “Sesame Street” joining the museum collection include Bert and Ernie, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover and Count Von Count, among others.
Many of the puppets are among the first constructions of the characters.
Smithsonian magazine welcomed Miss Piggy, dressed in a silver evening gown and holding a red rose, with a photo shoot. The museum allowed her to pose with Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” and wearing the real 45-carat Hope Diamond from the National Museum of Natural History.
“She was very well-behaved, considering she wanted to take it home with her,” said Bonnie Erickson, who created the Miss Piggy puppet with Henson and now is executive director of the Jim Henson Legacy foundation.
The gift was made on what would have been Henson’s 77th birthday and shortly after his wife, Jane Henson, died in April.
Since she was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, Jane Henson spent years planning to find permanent homes for each puppet character, Cheryl Henson said. Other puppets are being donated to the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, and to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.
“Many of these puppets have been in boxes for years. They’ve been tucked away in boxes, and we don’t want them to stay in boxes. We want people to see them and to appreciate them,” Cheryl Henson said. “There’s something about puppets. They’re not animated. ... They are actual, physical things.”